MLS Playoff Picture: FCD surge in Shield race; chaos consumes West

Photo credit: Portland Timbers / Twitter
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Had Sunday played out differently, the entirety of the 12-team field for the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs could have been decided already. We could have entered next Sunday, the final day of the regular season when all 10 games will kick off simultaneously (4 p.m. ET), with supreme clarity and nothing more than a higher seed up for grabs.

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Alas, MLS doesn’t work that way, which we knew coming into the weekend. Ahead of next Sunday, six teams still harbor playoff hopes, though four postseason berths are all that remain.

Eastern Conference

Already clinched

New York Red Bulls, New York City FC, Toronto FC, D.C. United, Montreal Impact

[ RECAP: Impact 2-2 TFC — Giovinco returns, Altidore leads the comeback ]

[ RECAP: DCU 3-1 NYCFC — Mullins leads first-half demolition at RFK ]

Can clinch on their own

Philadelphia Union — With a win or draw against New York Red Bulls, would clinch a playoff place.

Need (a lot of) help to clinch

New England Revolution — With a win over Montreal Impact, and a Philadelphia loss to to New York — the two of which combined making up the Revs’ 12-goal disadvantage in the goal differential column — would clinch a playoff place.

Western Conference

Already clinched

FC Dallas — With a win or draw against LA Galaxy, would clinch the Supporters’ Shield; would also clinch the Shield with a loss to LA, and a Colorado Rapids draw or loss against Houston Dynamo.

Colorado Rapids — With a win over Houston, and a Dallas loss to LA, would clinch the Shield.

LA Galaxy

[ RECAP: FCD 2-1 Sounders — 37-year-old Carlos Ruiz an 89th-minute hero ]

[ RECAP: Timbers 1-0 Rapids — Adi fires PDX into a tie for 6th; Shiled slips away ]

Can clinch on their own

Real Salt Lake — With a win over Seattle Sounders, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against Seattle, and a Portland Timbers draw or loss against Vancouver Whitecaps OR a Sporting Kansas City draw or loss to San Jose Earthquakes.

Seattle Sounders — With a win over Real Salt Lake, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against RSL, and a Portland draw or loss against Vancouver OR a Sporting Kansas City draw or loss to San Jose.

Sporting Kansas City — With a win over San Jose, would clinch a playoff place.

Portland Timbers — With a win over Vancouver, would clinch a playoff place.